The college admissions process has become more competitive than ever before. From 1990 to 2016, the number of 18 to 24-year-olds in the United States – the traditional college-age population – grew from from 26.9 million to 30.9 million, an increase of 15%. Additionally, many entry-level job positions that formerly did not require a secondary degree now do.
A preliminary report from the National Center for Education Statistics estimates the number of students attending American colleges and universities in the fall of 2018 at 19.9 million, just slightly down from fall of 2010’s peak enrollment of 21.0 million. With attendance near peak levels, many colleges and universities have become increasingly more selective, causing acceptance rates at many of the most competitive institutions to plummet.
One of the most important deciding factors affecting acceptance rates to a top college is the type and quality of high school one attends. An impressive 95.8% of 2009 ninth graders who had attended only private high schools had enrolled in postsecondary education – an education program after high school – as of February 2016. In comparison, 70.9% of students who had attended only public high schools were similarly enrolled.
While attending private high school increases a young adult’s chances of attending college, it is the prestige and quality of education that comes with that private high school that largely informs how likely they are to be accepted at a top institution.
24/7 Wall St. has identified the best private high school in each state based on rankings of all private schools from school and neighborhood data clearinghouse Niche.